Meditation--the art of repeatedly showing up and training your brain to calm, settle and center--is hard enough! I hear a lot of friends, colleagues and clients complain about struggling to get their meditation habit to stick.
Being human, I've naturally had ebbs and flows in my own practice over the past 10+ years. But what I've noticed about when I've stayed the most consistent, was that I took extra care to support and give myself a little grace when starting back up again.
Here are a few of the ways I've been extra kind to my returning "newbie" mind while getting back to the cushion after a hiatus:
1.) Set a timer for a reasonable amount of time. If you once were really consistent with a 30 minute practice, but now can hardly sit still for 5 minutes, honor where you are. It's unrealistic and a bit sadistic to force yourself back to your "best time" when you've been out of practice. We would do the same for our physical body--no previous marathoners would expect to clock 26 miles out of the gate after taking some time off from the treadmill! The same should go for our minds--it can learn to flex just like our muscles, but giving our brain a bit of grace from the get go will help you build up to your goal, rather than creating another incentive for the mind to convince you to give up and quit.
For the record, my daily meditation timer is set for just 11 minutes. I've found this to be the perfect amount of time to "drop in" and receive the benefits of meditation in my day. It's also a time commitment that is hard to wriggle out of and say "I don't have time for that"--because honestly I know I can, we can, spare 10 minutes for the benefit that meditation brings.
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